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Arizona Cardinals training camp: All-Access with Bruce Arians

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians speaks during a press conference at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

 

GLENDALE – Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, now in his fifth year with the Cardinals, meets the media each day during training camp.

Here, in this space, we’ll highlight many of the key topics and personal conversations he has with reporters following the morning walk-through.

“Well, this will be quick. Two meetings and no practice. We had a hell of a walk-through, that’s all I can tell you. Yeah, nothing new. Any questions?”

When you addressed the team, what was your message to them?

“Just like we talked about yesterday, little things. We addressed a lot of things back in OTAs on what we needed to do to get back to where we want to go and win close games. Every year is a new year. A lot of new faces. Ninety guys trying to get a job. We’re not the Cardinals yet.”

To be successful in this league, does it come down to the quarterback ultimately?

“A lot of times it does on a team, especially at this level. I’ve been very fortunate to be around some really, really good ones. It’s always fun going to practice and going to the stadium on Sunday when you got a good one. When you don’t have one it’s rough. You got to do everything perfect.”

What are your expectations for Carson Palmer given all that rest he received in the offseason?

“To play like he did in November and December, which was really solid for us and if he plays that well we should be a good team.”

How much do you expect Palmer to play in the preseason?

“He’ll probably play more than he did last year. We’ll play our starters more than we did last year. We’re talking about six plays versus 12 in a game. He will not play in the Hall of Fame Game. Larry (Fitzgerald) won’t play. I doubt Karlos (Dansby) plays. We’ll see, we’ll see how it goes.”

So Palmer is going to play more yet he’s not going to play in one of the games?

“Yeah, game three is the biggest one. I think we played maybe two quarters, if that, last year. We’ll see how it goes, but my plan right now is to play him a little bit more in game three, which is now game three and game four and none in game five probably.”

Only one player in NFL history has ever averaged 30 touches in a game and that was James Wilder in 1984. Any concern about the long-term affects of giving Johnson that many touches?

“No, James Wilder ran the ball 30 times. You run the ball 30 times you’re not going to last long in this league. We all know that. Twenty runs, and not all up the middle; (and 10 catches) just getting (Johnson’s) hands on the ball where he can create in space. Those tackles, they don’t take much out of you.”

Was the veteran leadership that you added this offseason something you were missing last season?

“We did miss some. I think early in the season we obviously missed, I think, Jerraud Powers and Rashad Johnson a little bit…. You want to have somebody that’s the voice in the room that they’re going to listen to more than a coach.”

What kind of growth did you see from Chad Williams moving from the second to the first field during OTAs and mini-camp?

“I love it when they come up there and they get coached very hard. See how they take it. Are they going to get in a shell or are they going to bounce back? It didn’t bother him. He’s been coached hard, that’s for sure. I really like the progress he made in the spring. He’s in a tough room right now, but if he continues to make that progress, we can really count on him.”

What are your thoughts on the offensive line?

“With all the injuries we had last year it’s kind of built good depth this year. We’ve got two or three guys that are on our second group that started some games. I like the athleticism. I really like the way Mike Iupati looks at 327 instead of 347. The whole group, they had a great offseason. They were in there almost every day together lifting and then watching film from February on, so that group I have a lot of confidence in.”

What will a lighter Mike Iupati mean?

“Yeah, I think it will help his stamina. He’s a great athlete for a big man so he should be even more athletic.”

Do you believe the window of opportunity for this team is now?

“I think that’s the assessment every year. You build your team to win and those guys that are building for the future that next coach is probably coaching them. When the future gets there they’re going to have a new coach. We’re here to win. You can say age has something to do with it, but it’s really every year that’s our philosophy. We’re building the best roster to win our division.”

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